I have a story I’ve been dying to tell, but could not for many many months, for the sake of Petersen Games’ relationship with our main factory. Our primary factory – which manufactured The Gods War – has been involved in a legal battle with a former employee of theirs, and I’m now finally able to discuss this with our customers.
I decided to post this as a “production diary” rather than a Kickstarter Update for The Gods War, as it reveals some of the kinds of things that can happen when working with a factory in China (or anywhere, for that matter) – things that can impact us and our backers greatly, even though we can’t always discuss it openly***
Eighteen months ago – in the Spring of 2017 – I got an email from the manager over tooling and plastics for our main factory. This wasn’t odd, since we communicated from time to time (normally I would work with her superior, but we had met many times in China and were certainly on a first name basis). However, it came from a new email address, and, knowing I was in the middle of getting quotes for the Cthulhu Wars: Onslaught 3 project, provided a quote of her own, for plastics only.
Although we work with a main factory, we have a few we’ve used over the years, depending on the project, and when I get quotes, I always get quotes from all factories I have contact information for (there are some factories who have given quotes for virtually ever Petersen Games game, and we’ve never used them yet). I assumed she was working for a new factory at first, but since the price was so dramatically low, I asked, and she said she was working as her own agent, and had quit our main factory.
However, given our strong relationship with this main factory, I asked them what happened to her, and heard a very different story. Throughout the next several months what unfolded was, to be trite, a terrible mess. Apparently, this former supervisor had taken a series of criminal actions that caused a lot of damages to the manufacturer’s operation. This person had locked the office so no one could work for some time and had stolen computers. Later it was discovered that some molds for plastic figures were stolen! To get them back, money was extorted. The factory had to file several lawsuits against her (and this is the main reason I couldn’t say anything until now). And in the midst of this, to enable things to even function, the manufacturer had to move to a different location and recruit a new staff for plastics and tooling, requiring all projects to slow down while the new employees were trained and got up to speed on the current projects – notably The Gods War.
This is the thumbnail summary. Suffice it to say, it was a mess. And if you could “hear” the tension in my updates whenever I wrote progress reports for The Gods War, much of that was because I couldn’t talk about any of this!
To be clear, this is NOT at all the only reason The Gods War has been delayed. The initial problem was that we launched the Kickstarter before all the sculpts were even completed. That was clearly a key failing of ours (which we have since rectified by never launching another Kickstarter unless our team had prepared the game to the point where we could send it to China). Also, our decision to make the sculpts very large and complex meant that it took far longer to tool than even any of our Cthulhu Wars projects. However, the unfortunate litigation and challenges faced by our factory for the past 18 months has greatly affected their ability to make Cthulhu Wars: O3, as well as The Gods War on the schedules originally planned between them and me.
Luckily, it is now at the point where things are resolved, and projects are no longer being affected by these unfortunate events.
And that’s my production diary for today. A harrowing tale for Halloween. Except this one’s true.
*** Here at Petersen Games we do try to discuss everything as openly as we can, but legal disputes are not always fair game for public updates for Kickstarter backers or blogs like this one. Luckily, I’m now able to discuss this, as it will be eye opening for those who want to be informed on the insides of things.